So, I have a website. It’s a bit strange having a dot com after my name, but let’s just move on.
I’m an American expat who grew up in a family of newspaper publishers in the Midwest, lived for ten years in the Northeast while completing my education, and moved to New Zealand three years ago.
I must admit I never even thought about visiting New Zealand before relocating here. I had met a friend years ago in San Francisco from New Zealand (check out my Where’s Joe Wellington blog for that story) but it always just seemed like a dream country way off the grid that I’d never see.
So when my husband proposed reaching out to work contacts down here, I think I was in shock by my own reaction. “Yes,” I said to him without hesitation. Our son was only six months old at the time, and I had returned to work, a place I’d previously loved but had endured significant management changes while I was away that it was practically unrecognisable. Six months later our house was sold, our cars sold, and we’d given away electronics to friends. We were on our way! New Zealand or bust.
Previously an addictions treatment counselor, I love being a full-time mother now. It was part of our plan that if we moved abroad, I’d be able to fulfil my dream of staying home with our child, and also focus on my writing. I grew up in the theatre but my secret passion has always been for the written word. It wasn’t anything I ever talked about openly with others; writing was a male-dominated profession in my family. But that didn’t stop me from writing. I kept it as my secret, something I’d do privately for my own benefit.
In 2009, someone told me about National Novel Writing Month. I had become ill and decided to sign up. It changed my life. I wrote my first adult manuscript during that time. It was crap, but it was finished. What I’d do with it wasn’t a concern; I had written it for me.
It wasn’t until moving down here and starting my Where’s Joe Wellington blog that my passion for writing was sparked again. I found my first manuscript and edited it for a good year while researching all I could about traditional publishing. Then I started to query agents in America. And the rejections piled up. I’ve since shelved that one until another day, drafted a sequel to it, and wrote a new manuscript. This one is the love of my life and I can’t wait to share it with the world.
Creativity is at the core of my soul: I was in my first play when I was four and racked up a decent resume by the time I was 24; I was a backup singer touring with a local Vermont singer-songwriter with gigs around the state and in NYC; I did some light modeling, a television commercial and co-starred in an independent film many years ago. All those opportunities were fulfilling, but nothing as much as getting the stories out of my head and onto paper.
I balanced creativity with serious work. My Bachelor’s degree is in psychology and I was only a few credits shy of receiving my Masters in counselling before we moved to New Zealand. I’d like to finish that someday, too, but not sure how that would work living down here. I’ve worked as an advocate for Sexual Assault Survivors, have supported individuals with developmental disabilities, and as an addictions treatment and assessment counsellor. Every person I’ve worked with has enriched my life in some way and I will always advocate awareness on such topics and continue to fight for their rights.
I’m a member of Romance Writers of America and Romance Writers of New Zealand, a 2x winner of National Novel Writing Month, was featured in Divine In The Daily, won a short-story contest, and I don’t plan on stopping.
So, that’s why I have a dot com after my name. I want to share our adventure stories of living abroad, and it gives me the necessary outlet to create.
Thanks for following and I look forward to sharing more!
Link to THE DIVINE IN THE DAILY post, Adventures in Uncertainty